Mike Tomlin Expects Kenny Pickett to ‘Kill It’ in 2023
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett did not have a strong statistical rookie season, but showed a lot of promise late in the season, leading the Steelers to game-winning drives in tough late-season games against the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens.
The Steelers finished their season 7-2 over the final nine games, and Pickett’s clutch play was a big part of the turnaround during that time. Despite the promise that Pickett showed late in the season, he and the Steelers have largely been overlooked entering the 2023 season.
But Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is expecting a lot more out of Pickett than he delivered in 2022, and with good reason.
“I expect him to kill it,” Tomlin said last week during an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show. “I’ll describe what I mean by that. It’s his second lap around the track. He’s no longer speculating in terms of what this business is about, what the job demands, what the challenges are, what the feel of then process is like, whether it’s getting ready for a season or getting ready for a week. He had all of that experience, and so I just think it’s reasonable for him to have significant growth in all areas with that understanding, to be more engaged in the process and have an opinion about the process, to be more comfortable in his own voice, because he has deep relationships with his teammates. He’s delivered for them some and so his credibility is there and so it’s reasonable to feel that comfort.
“I’m just looking for him to take a significant step in all areas because he’s in position to, he has experience, he’s performed some, he has relationship, he’s had some challenges. All of those things are platforms for growth.”
Tomlin famously expects big jumps from all of his second-year players and has said similar things about wide receiver George Pickens and others. But specifically regarding Pickett, his work ethic this offseason has shown Tomlin reason to believe that bigger things are coming for his young signal caller.
“He loves it,” Tomlin said. “He’s a gym rat. He likes to work. He’s communicative. He just has all the intangible things you should expect from a guy at that position, but really at any position, to step from year one to year two.”
Pickett will have his first chance to show off some of that growth this week, when the Steelers get together for OTAs on Tuesday.
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